This is (Almost) Our Time, Mikey, Our Time

We made another trip to Camp Davis this past Sunday to check in on the contractor’s progress and it looks like they are nearly finished their side of the renovations.  Drywall is up, floors are down. We are in the middle, hopefully soon and often.

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Here is a shot of the soon-to-be kitchen with the new bump-out to the left, and to the right our fresh-out-of-the-box gas range with double-oven waiting for a hookup.

One day a large kitchen island will replace that sofa. One day…

photo 2 (2)Because we don’t have lighting wired and because it was a bit overcast Sunday, taking shots that accurately portray the color of the flooring was a somewhat difficult.  While it’s a little fuzzy, this shot is probably the best rendering of the color tone and hues in the wood floors.

We had the contractors install unfinished, unstained New England White Pine flooring.  We ordered it online, had it delivered straight to the store in Frederick, MD, then had the contractors bring it out to Camp Davis.

Completely installed – that’s the only way to see your hardwood flooring in person for the first time.

We knew from phone conversations with the contractor that it was very “rustic” looking and “really knotty.”  Otherwise, we had no true idea of what to expect.  Thankfully, we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.  We are so happy with it, in fact, that we are choosing not to stain it at all, instead going for the totally natural look and only sealing and finishing it with a completely pigment-free and low-sheen finisher.

The current plan is to use a combination of the Swedish-made Bonaseal and either Bona Traffic or Bona Naturale to finish and protect the wood while maintaining its current look as accurately as possible.

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Odd Jobs

As regular readers have surely noticed, I’ve fallen out of my two-year old posting rhythm lately, often neglecting to post for weeks on end.  It sucks, I really miss the writing and sharing, but it happens.  This isn’t to say I’ve just been sitting on my hands.  Instead I’ve found a few odd jobs to keep me plenty busy in the interim.

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Next week I’ll begin my temporary tenure as a part-time Preschool teacher.  So there’s that.  Loren’s full-time teacher had to step down due to unfortunate but understandable personal issues.  Us parents in the co-op are trying to soften the blow by stepping into the void she’s left.  My plan is to teach the 10 or so 3-to-5 year olds proper sharing by reading caselaw on Fourth Amendment Search and Seizure techniques.  Or something like that.

Truth is I’ve had a lot of fun helping out as the duty parent (that’s basically a parent in the once a month role of assistant teacher/potty-trip manager), and I’m really looking forward to helping out more often.  These kids are a lot of fun and it is a blast to watch them interact, especially when they get lost in their own world and think we can’t hear them.  Ruthie will be along for the ride most days, which is kind of a trip to see.  She’s no stranger to toughing it out with the big kids.  Luckily these guys all seem to adore her.  She’ll be something of the class pet/mascot in toddler form.

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Almost Kevin

IMG_7230I went grocery shopping with the kids the other afternoon.  As we walked down the freezer isle I pointed to the cases filled with frozen vegetables of every stripe.  Loren’s snack of choice for the longest time has been either frozen peas in milk (which he calls “ice cream”) or frozen peas in applesauce.  He’ll request it above just about anything else.  We don’t thaw or heat the peas – just leave them frozen solid and dish it over to him.

As he gazed at the frozen wonders I said, “It’s like heaven, isn’t it buddy?” To which he responded, “yeah, just like Kevin…what’s Kevin?”

We took another drive up to Vermont over the long weekend, because apparently we can just up and do that sort of thing with two small children.  Once again it took about 12 hours door-to-door, nine of which we spend actually driving, the other three hours we use for pit-stops and food breaks.  I would have never believed it, but the kids were even better about the drive this time around than our trip this past spring.

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Knock, Knock, Who’s There?

Loren’s three today!

And if I’ve learned anything from him the last few weeks, it’s that the above counts as an excellent knock-knock joke punch-line, regardless of the setup.

But yes, Loren turned three years old today and even though I’m rarely posting these days I felt obligated* to at least commemorate it with a brief post.

*Love you, hon.

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Our big boy is in pre-school now.  Doing what, exactly, I’m never too sure.  I ask him for details every time I pick him up, but he’s three years old so he’ll smile back at me and say “I don’t know!” and then ignore my pestering for answers.  In the meantime I try to ask the teachers what they have planned and how he’s doing, but I’m also trying not to be *that parent* interrogating her during drop-off and pick-up every day.

Of course, there is one thing I always investigate when I first arrive at pickup: whether he’s wearing the same pants he had on when I dropped him off a few hours earlier, or if he had a pee-pee accident and needed to dip into his extra pants reserves we keep in his backpack.  So far he’s doing really well (especially considering how little we’d done to push him into the world of potty-trained children).  Accidents still happen (so Loren likes to remind me whenever he has one – “It’s ok, dada, that happens…”), but they aren’t as frequent as I thought they’d be.  He’d holding his own…sometimes quite literally.

Which brings me back to the title of this post:

Knock, knock…[you say “who’s there?”]…[then I set up the rest of the joke and then tell you a standard knock-knock joke pun-tastic punchline, then you are supposed to try really, really hard to go poo-poo on the potty.]  At least, that’s the going rate for a toddler deuce these days in our house.

So yes, in case you were wondering what I’ve been up to these days, I have reduced myself to telling knock-knock jokes for giggles…and shits.

Happy third birthday to our big boy Loren.

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Checking In On The Camp Davis Renovations

It’s been over a year since the Derecho and almost a year since the truck, but this Saturday morning, Nat and I dropped the kids with Grannie so that we could make a day-trip to Camp Davis to see the major renovation progress that is finally, finally taking place.

Most insurance repairs happen a lot faster than this.  Of course, most home owners aren’t us.  We recently told our realtor here in DC about our plans for the West Virginia repairs, and his reaction was, no joke, “you two, you’re always scheming.”  Well, guilty as charged I suppose.  Even as we were filing all the paperwork for the claim we began thinking not simply about the most direct course to restoring Camp Davis to it’s before-truck-crash state, but instead we started dreaming about what we really wanted it to be.  We had a blank slate and a big check, a rare opportunity: It was time to use our imagination.

So we planned and pinned and started over and poured more drinks and re-planned and pinned some more.  We decided to scramble the layout, swapping the kitchen and the dinning rooms entirely, and once we did that we thought: why not push this wall out a few feet?  Oh, if you wouldn’t mind, “bus driver, MOVE THAT BUS!”

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Labor Day Weekend Recap

We stuck around DC this past weekend and despite our best efforts managed to pack it full of noteworthy events, including trips to see a free children’s play at the Kennedy Center (highly recommend, seriously cant believe we’ve never done that before), enjoy our neighborhood’s newly remodeled playground (with SPLASH PAD!), and had a total tourist day to see the Sculpture Garden, the National Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn and the Museum of Natural History.  We actually managed all that after a night in which our little apartment slept eight people, four of which are children 3 and under.  Somehow.

Loren is up front, the tiny blond kid.  He raced up front to greet the actors after the show wrapped.  This is very uncharacteristic of our Cautious Captain.
Loren is up front, the tiny blond kid. He raced up front to greet the actors after the show wrapped. This is very uncharacteristic of our Cautious Captain.
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Lost and Found

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A few weeks ago – just before leaving for family vacation actually – I lost my wallet.  IDs, cash, credit cards, Rx cards, Smartrip card, everything.  Earlier that day I’d driven the kids to Target to get diapers.  After paying to leave Target’s parking garage I placed my wallet in my lap as I drove home.  This has become something of a bad habit of mine lately, but it comes so natural that I just keep doing it.  The kids cried and screamed the whole ride home.  I circled the block, found a spot, parked, then rushed them into the house for a long over-due lunch.

Because I hurried out of the car, my wallet fell from my lap to the ground without my noticing it.  It didn’t take me long to realize what happened, but it seems someone else found it before I could get back outside.

I used my passport to get around during our two weeks of vacation.  I was very happy to have that as a backup.

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That’s It!

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I was in the kitchen trying to clean up breakfast when I heard a growing tussle in the living room.  As a parent/detective, my first job upon hearing such a row is to make sure no one is physically hurt.  Next, my job is to attempt to discern as best as possible the likely culprit in the altercation.  Unfortunately for Loren, the older sibling, he is the generally assumed Suspect 1A, regardless of the crime.

Today, for the first time ever, he was merely an accomplice.

I’d given them both a small bowl of cheerios as a TV break distraction, because cleaning and parenting are not complimentary endeavors, and because these two little children were slowly losing their minds, if for no other reason than I was trying to get something done in the next room over.

Not surprisingly, Ruthie tossed her cereal all over the floor in a matter of minutes.  Minnie the Moocher then toddled her way over to unsuspecting Loren on the other side of the coffee table.  She immediately latched onto his bowl, because, I don’t know, maybe she thought his was filled with bacon or something instead of the Exact.Same.Cheerios. she just threw all over the floor moments earlier.

So Ruthie started it, if that’s what you’re wondering.  Loren, for his part, did not play the bigger man for which the situation called.  As I rounded the corner I watched him shove his much smaller sister in one motion, then retract and catapult his cheerios all over the living room in the following pull.

I stepped into the breach, separated the two of them, then threw my hands up and exclaimed “That’s it! EVERYONE IS IN TIMEOUT!”

Which made me feel like Bill Cosby and my mother all at the same time.

This was Ruthie’s first time being “in trouble.”  She clearly had no idea what was going on, but was very pissed that it was happening (that one’s got a temper, it seems).  Loren, on the other hand, is an O.G. of timeout at this point, and was well aware of what was going down.

Free of the children, I couldn’t help but laugh at my own reaction.  I just dropped a proclamation on the household – Thou Art in Trouble! – knowing full-well the little instigator of the bunch wouldn’t understand and the older would feel wrongly accused.

But that is life under fatherly fiat.  Thou hast been warned.

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